Selling a home in Florida can be a lengthy and sometimes complicated process. Numerous detailed steps and a variety of documents are necessary to ensure a successful sale. Sellers are generally required to prepare their properties for a buyer, which may include unexpected last-minute repairs before placing the house on the market. Before a seller can transfer a property’s title to the buyer, the title must be free and clear, establishing the seller as the owner. That means the required title search should be completed by an experienced real estate attorney or their recommended title company, not just any title agent a Realtor recommends.
Title insurance is purchased to protect against any future discrepancies on the property’s ownership. This insurance protects the lender’s investment in the property and the buyer’s ownership interest. But instead of shopping around for a competent title company, parties to the purchase may “just go with” the title company that the Realtor already has a working relationship with. Unfortunately, parties may realize too late that the Realtor’s preferred title company was not looking out for the party’s best interests, but was more interested in selling an expensive title insurance policy. And the Realtor may have chosen a particular title company because of an incentive or a “kickback” — such as an expensive gift or paid advertising — provided to him or her.
Florida title companies that provide Realtors with kickbacks so that Realtors will refer new clients to them are in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Section 8 of RESPA makes it illegal to give a real estate agent an incentive or kickback to refer a deal. That’s why it’s essential to have a seasoned real estate attorney rather than a Realtor select a title agent.
Frank Charles Miranda, P.A. offers experienced real estate representation and works with his own licensed title insurance agents. If we can assist you by helping to ensure a smooth real estate transaction, call us at 813-254-2637 or contact us online.